Boston High School: Raheem Wingard

D1 North Final: Central Cath. 20, Everett 14

November, 16, 2013
EVERETT, Mass. -- Cody Demers started this one in the hurt locker. He ended it on cloud nine.

His 24-yard touchdown catch with two minutes to go, against one of the state's most intimidating and highly-regarded defensive backs, will go down forever in Central Catholic folklore as one of the program's all-time defining moments, a 20-14 stunner over juggernaut Everett for the inaugural MIAA Division 1 North title and trip to Gillette Stadium for next month's first-ever true state championship.

"We've been coming out from lifting, to practicing, to two-a-days, everything, we've just been coming out full of heart," said Demers. "Anything can happen, and we wanted to make our stand and come back as a team."

[+] EnlargeCody Demers
Jim Valente for ESPNBoston.comCody Demers was shaken up early, but made the game-winning touchdown catch late as Central Catholic shocked Everett.
It was how it got to that point, however, that might have been the most impressive. Demers took a beating at wide receiver and kick returner, taking on a series of brutal blows, none more violent than the one laid on him by Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Parvelus up the middle returning a kickoff in the second quarter. A feeling of weightlessness overcame him for a brief moment as he lay face down in the turf.

"Honestly, it was a shot. I was running the ball, I thought I was gonna get a block, I forget who it was, but he just popped me, and my whole body went flat," Demers explained. "Like I dunno, I can’t even explain it. It was an incredible hit. I tried getting up, but I got up too quick and I was dizzy."

Demers was sidelined for five plays, before returning to the field and later helping the Raiders in their winning rally.

It started late in the third quarter, when quarterback Mike Milano pulled off a perfectly-executed veer, put the ball in the belly of University of New Hampshire commit D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie for the dive, then pulling it and racing 60 yards off the edge up the middle of the field, for the touchdown and 14-7 lead with :54 to go in the stanza.

"We knew the whole game, they were crashing [linebacker Josh Palmer] off the edge hard," Milano said. "D'Andre told me before the play, 'You know that kid's gonna crash, so make sure you make the right read'. So I made the right read, pulled it, and then it was one-on-one with [Parvelus]. D'Andre made a great fake, everybody flowed to him, and it was one-on-one."

Everett responded with a 12-play, 70-yard drive that was kept alive with a huge break on third and 12 from the Raiders 37. Quarterback Raheem Wingard's pass to Joe D'Onofrio was initially tipped by Raiders linebacker Jon Parsons, but sailed over his head into D'Onofrio's bread basket for a 20-yard gain. Four plays later, Marquis Holman rumbled in from a yard out, then the Tide converted a swinging gate play on the point after for the 15-14 lead with 7:12 to go.

Central had a chance to go ahead on its next drive, when Milano completed a 56-yard screen pass to Markus Edmunds, giving them first and goal at the five after a tacked-on facemask call. But on the very next play, Palmer stripped the ball from Drummond-Mayrie and fell on it. A quick three-and-out and shanked punt, however, gave the Raiders another fortunate bounce, with starting field position at the Tide 36.

This time, they capitalized.

Three plays into the drive, on third and five, Drummond fumbled, but the ball rolled seven yards forward, and lineman Brad Marggraf pounced on it to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Demers gave them the lead for good.

Isolated to the left, in a formation newly installed this week, Demers ran a "sluggo" (slant-and-go) route against Everett's Lubern Figaro, bouncing to the outside and leaning into the highly-touted Wisconsin commit as he tried to jam him to the sideline. At the near pylon, Demers came across Figaro's face and slipped underneath his hands, drawing pass interference as he laid out for the diving touchdown catch.

"That's our big home run play," Demers said. "When that play was called, I couldn't wait."

Everett stalled on its potential game-winning drive at midfield, a last-ditch attempt at a pass landing at Lukas Denis for a 20-yard gain as time expired, as the Central side went into a frenzy.

Drummond-Mayrie was asked about the most important defensive techniques against the Tide's offense, and like the Milano 60-yard score, he veered off. He didn't bite his tongue when he played the tried and true "no respect" card that has become commonplace in these increasingly-heated playoff games, and let it rip.

"We knew it was going to be a scrappy game, when we met the captains [at midfield, for the coin toss], they were eyeing us down," he said. "They didn't have respect for us. We knew we had to come out here and earn their respect...They didn't think we belonged here."

Asked if there was conversation headed into the game that indicated this sentiment from Everett, Drummond-Mayrie said, "No, it was all in their body language."

"It makes it that much sweeter, that much better. I have so much respect for their program, I have no hard feelings at the end of the game. It was a scrappy game, that's how football is. Great team, with great players, but the better team won today. I took some hits, but we gave some hits too."

By now, Demers' gritty performances have become customary around the Central program.

"That's just the type of kid he is," Raiders head coach Chuck Adamopoulos said. "That's his personality, he's thinks he should be able to beat anyone on a pass. He's just a playmaker, a spunky kid."

Said Drummond-Mayrie, "He's the toughest kid I know. He's small, but he packs a punch. That's why he's the best player on this team. That's why I look up to him so much. He's just a great person."


CC --- 0 - 0 - 14 - 6 --- 20
EV --- 0 - 7 - 0 - 8 --- 14

Second Quarter
E - Marquis Holman 1 run (Matheus Varela kick) 6:06

Third Quarter
C - D'Andre Drummond-Mayrie 1 run (Paul Karamourtopoulos kick) 3:24
C - Mike Milano 60 run (Karamantopoulos kick) :54

Fourth Quarter
E - Holman 1 run (James Hunt run) 7:12
C - Cody Demers 24 pass from Milano (pass failed) 2:10

Recap: No. 4 Everett 35, No. 3 St. John's Prep 14

September, 28, 2013

DANVERS, Mass. – They say if you give a man an inch, he’ll take a mile.

If you give John DiBiaso a bye week, well, that doesn’t bode well for the opposing football team.

Following a lackluster 20-8 loss to Xaverian at home two weekends ago, No. 4 Everett got back to basics in its one-week reprieve. The Crimson Tide’s week spent tidying up their messy performance in the former week showed in Saturday’s matinee duel against another Catholic Conference power in No. 3 St. John’s Prep.

First order of business? Shutting down, or at least, slowing down, the state’s most feared rusher in Johnny Thomas.

Second? Getting in a time machine and going back to the future with a refigured offense, shunning the spread, which found success in recent years, in favor of a vintage Everett staple — the flexbone.

It all was there in the Crimson Tide’s emphatic 35-14 win.

So did their head coach spend the week off pouring over old game plans and film, trying to unearth old gems?

“It wouldn’t say it was homework so much as it was a lot of practice,” DiBiaso said. “We practiced very hard.”

DiBiaso was less than amused with his team’s level of execution following the loss to Xaverian, so one can imagine the vigorous tenor of the Crimson Tide’s practices in the week since we saw them last.

Also, Everett (2-1) received an addition shot in the arm in the form of a new addition – senior running back/linebacker Isaiah Davis.

Davis, who previously suited up for Lynn English, was granted a waiver last week allowing the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder to see his first game action of the season with the Crimson Tide. He had an immediate impact, first scoring on a 15-yard run for a 7-0 first-quarter lead. Then, after Everett recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Davis ran for his second score from 2 yards out.

“I can’t be more happy for him, he’s been waiting patiently for his opportunity,” DiBiaso said. “He got it and he came up very big. He played fantastic and I think he put himself on the map among the elite players in the state.”

The Crimson Tide amassed a three-score lead by early in the second quarter, after Joe D’Onofrio’s 2-yard touchdown run.

But Prep (2-2) countered, making it a two-possession again before the half was out.

Running their two-minute drill, the Eagles drove 74 yards in two minutes even to set up Mike Geaslen’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Owen Rockett on the final play of the half. The game clock had nearly expired before Prep got the snap off, with Geaslen lofting a fade over the head of the defense on a schoolyard-ball type play.

The Eagles whittled the lead down to a touchdown in the fourth, with backup running back Cody Harwood running for a 4-yard touchdown with 9:32 to play.

Harwood entered the game after Thomas, a preseason All-Stater and early season Mr. Football favorite, left the game to a right knee injury.

But Everett would not be denied. Following Harwood’s score, the Crimson Tide chewed up 64 yards on three plays with quarterback Raheem Wingard selling the option and zooming up the left sideline 25 yards for a 28-14 lead with less than eight minutes remaining.

The Eagles’ final two drives ended in a Crimson Tide fumble recovery and turnover downs, respectively, before D’Onofrio iced it with his second rushing touchdown of the game.

“We just can’t spot them points, I don’t care how good you are – not against them,” Prep head coach Jim O’Leary said. “It was very similar to the [Bridgewater-Raynham] game. The second half, we made mistakes and the ball didn’t bounce our way.

“There was no magic involved. They played well, they had a bye week and they coached them up.”

Greater cause for concern: Thomas, a Maryland commit, left the game after a late third-quarter carry.

While attempting to cut to the sideline, the senior was met by duo of Everett tacklers and driven to the turf. After being attended to by trainers, Thomas walked off the field under his own power, but with staff members flanking him under each arm. He did not return.

Postgame, O’Leary said Thomas was examined by the doctor on hand, but didn’t want to speculate to the injury’s long-term severity, pending an MRI.

“We’re not going to play with 10 guys,” O’Leary added. “We’re going to play with 11 next week and, hopefully, we get him back.”

The concern over Thomas’ injury wasn’t exclusive to Prep’s sideline.

“He’s a great back,” DiBiaso said. “He got a lot of good yards and our prayers are with him. We hope it’s nothing serious.”

Grounding the Eagles: As was after Thomas’ injury, great attention was paid to the Prep back, who accounted for 86 yards on 17 carries in the first half alone, in the lead up to Saturday’s game.

With two weeks to game plan against the Eagles’ ground game, DiBiaso again mixed things up.

Josh Palmer, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound defensive tackle, was moved back to linebacker, joining an already stout corps. The move allowed the Crimson Tide to play a 3-5 base, at times stacking all 11 players in the box, in hopes of neutralizing the state’s top running talent.

“We recognize [Thomas is] the best player in the state and we were going to try to mold our defense to try to force them into doing other things to beat us,” DiBiaso said. “We put Josh [Palmer] back at linebacker with Angel [Duarte], C.J. [Parvelus] and Lubern [Figaro] and Isaiah [Davis] shadowing [Thomas] the whole game.

Of course, a plan is just that. Without players versatile enough to plug into the system, it falls flat.

“He’s just an athlete, he can play anywhere,” Duarte said of Palmer joining the ranks of the LBs. “He’s got the speed, he’s big. We put him out there anywhere and he did a great job for us.”

The Times They Are A-Changin’: After watching his son, Jonathan, break multiple state passing records during his career with the Crimson Tide, Everett’s offensive groupings have steadily morphed in the last two years.

It’s not anything new, but Saturday might have marked an unofficial return to the good ole days. DiBiaso reflected on his new-look, old-feel offense.

“You’re a stupid coach if you do something that your personnel isn’t equipped to execute. We’ve run the spread successfully for about four years, but our personnel is more fit for this.

“We have three good running backs and an option-style quarterback, so shame on me for not doing it earlier.”

With Davis, D’Onofrio and fullback Marquis Holman holding it down in the backfield, the Crimson Tide has tried to strike balance on offense.

Wingard made two big connections to Lukas Denis (2 passes defended on defense, as well), helping to set up two touchdown drives.

“He made two good catches on play-action passes, and if you’re going to run that offense, you have to hit on play-actions,” DiBiaso said of Denis.

Of course, there’s still room for improvement though: “I think we did a decent job. We’ve only been running it for two weeks, so hopefully we’ll get even better as weeks go on.”

Recap: No. 14 Xaverian 20, No. 1 Everett 8

September, 14, 2013
EVERETT, Mass. – One would have thought Xaverian’s offense would be behind the 8-ball entering Friday night’s showdown with No. 1 Everett. Without starting running back (and linebacker) Shayne Kaminski in the lineup, lost to a leg injury suffered during a scrimmage last week, the Hawks were playing without perhaps their best athlete.

No sweat.

Junior quarterback Jake Farrell was nearly perfect in the passing game, while junior Noah Sorrento (15 carries, 98 yards) picked up the slack in the backfield as the No. 14 Hawks surged past the top-ranked Crimson Tide during the second half in a 20-8 win.

With the victory, Xaverian (1-0) ended Everett’s 10-game winning streak against Catholic Conference foes and, in the process, started 2013with bang for a squad coming of a sub-.500 2012 campaign.

“It’s a huge statement for everybody on our team,” said Farrell, who started the game going 9-for-9 in completions, a streak extending into the third quarter. “We showed we can beat one of the elite teams in Massachusetts, and people are going to know about this.”

Sorrento, who worked in two-back sets with Kaminski throughout the preseason, set the Hawks off in the right direction with a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Xaverian would maintain the 7-0 lead until 4:13 remaining in the half, when Everett quarterback Raheem Wingard (149 rushing yards) broke off a 29-yard touchdown on an option keeper. Although the point-after try was blocked, an offsides penalty against Xaverian gave the Crimson Tide (1-1) another crack. Another yard closer, Marquis Holman ran in the 2-point conversion over left guard.

The scoring drive was enabled by a fourth-down stand by Everett’s defense at their 40-yard line.

The Crimson Tide’s one-point lead stood until the fourth quarter, when another crucial fourth-down decision from the Xaverian sideline would come into play.

Facing a fourth-and-11 at the Everett 25, and with a little more than eight minutes remaining, the Hawks broke huddle looking for something special. When the play broke down around Farrell, he improvised and took off toward the end zone. Twenty-five yards later, the first-year starter scored what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

After the Hawks defense came away with another key fourth-down stop on the ensuing Everett possession, Farrell capped his evening with a perfectly thrown 23-yard fade to D.J. Sperzel for an insurance strike.

“It was just reading the quarterback,” Sperzel said. “I knew I had the receiver in front of me and broke on the ball.”

“We felt like that was the time to take a shot,” Hawks head coach Charlie Stevenson said. “He went up and got it, and Jake put it right where he needed to.”

For added measure, Sperzel closed out the special evening with an interception of Wingard on the following drive.

Shuffling the deck: While Kaminski’s absence forced Stevenson to alter his offensive game plan, the Hawks still played to their strengths.

“We lose a lot of firepower without Kaminski in the backfield,” Steveson added. “But I thought Noah Sorrento did an unbelievable job.”

Also key to the victory was the play of Xaverian’s offensive line. Anchored by senior captain Jeff Perez, the line created holes ample for any running back to walk through.

“If we block like that and Shayne’s with us, I think we’ll be OK as we go forward,” Stevenson said.

They also drew rave reviews from their quarterback.

“The O-line was excellent,” Farrell said. “I had a ton of time to throw and the receivers just ran good routes. They made it easy for me.”

Work in progress: Meanwhile, after a sloppy Week 1 win over another Top 10 foe in Springfield Central and Friday night’s loss, Crimson Tide head coach John DiBiaso was less than enthused with his team’s work thus far.

“There were no positives,” DiBiaso said of Friday’s loss. “They kicked our butts up and down the field, in every aspect of the game – special teams, offense, defense.

“We didn’t play well, we didn’t execute.”

Recap: No. 2 Everett 31, No. 6 Springfield Central 23

September, 7, 2013

EVERETT, Mass. -- Springfield Central understands the realization that teams from Western Mass. do not get the same kind of respect as those who hail from the eastern half of the Commonwealth. Afterall, the only way to gain respect is to earn it.
Friday night it appeared as though the Golden Eagles took a positive step in that direction.

Although Central came out on the short end of a hardfought 31-23 decision to the Crimson Tide, Everett coaches and players alike came away with the understanding that the Golden Eagles can now sit at the table among the state's elite programs.

“They’re a great team,” said defensive tackle Josh Palmer, who flourished on the defensive side for the Crimson Tide all night long and forced a key fumble midway through the third quarter. “They’re very humble and don’t talk trash. I knew I needed to make big plays tonight because I really wanted to win this. A lot of people thought we would lose this so I wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

Echoing Palmer's sentiments, there were many who did feel this might be a rebuilding year for Everett (1-0). This off-season, the Crimson Tide needed to replace their entire offensive line and fill the void left by some primary offensive weapons who graduated.

But when you are a program as tradition-rich as Everett is, winners of three straight Eastern Mass. Super Bowls, you don’t rebuild, you reload. A daunted running attack spurred the Crimson Tide in this one. Senior back Joe D’Onofrio led a strong ground assault, rushing for 143 yards on 16 carries and 1 TD. When D’Onofrio wasn’t summond to push the ball upfield, Everett looked to junior Jonathan Freitas, who bullied his was for 89 tough yards.

“I thought our backs ran very well, especially in the second half,” Everett coach John DiBiaso said. “We know Springfield Central is a very good team and we are very lucky to come out with the result that we did. I thought our defense as a whole did a good job. It was sort of a bend but don’t break defense tonight. Williams is a great player for them you we probably aren’t going to run into a much-better quarterback in high school other than him.”

While the Crimson Tide did most of their damage on the ground, the Golden Eagles did theirs through the air. Highly-touted senior quarterback Cody Williams looked in mid-season form, riddling the Crimson Tide defense having passed for 304 yards on 21-of-33 attempts and 3 touchdowns. Williams, engineering the spread offense, also did it with his feet, rushing for 72 yards on 12 carries.

“We know Everett is a great team but I feel we came out and showed them what Western Mass. has,” said Williams, who is committed to Monmouth University. “We came out and gave it all we got.”

Last year, Central lost to Everett in its season opener and went on to win 11 straight, culminating in a Division 1 Western Mass. Super Bowl victory. Williams believes it could be déjà vu all over again this year.

“We’re not losing anymore this year,” he said. “We still plan to go to the (Division 2) state championship and play it one game at a time and one practice at a time.”

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Crimson Tide got on the board first at 10:23 of the second frame as C.J. Parvelus hauled in a 5 yard scoring pass from quarterback Raheem Wingard. Five minutes later, the Golden Eagle answered with Williams connecting with Tysean Williams in the end zone to knot the game at 7-7.

With under a minute to go before halftime, Everett re-took the lead at 14-7 thanks to D’Onofrio’s 19 yard scamper. However, Central made a final second push to set up Ju’an Williams’ 36 yard field goal to make it a four point game.

On their first possession of the second half, the Golden Eagles grabbed their first lead. Marching 94 yards and facing a third down at the Everett 20 yard line, the Everett defense forgot to cover receiver Malik Johnson, who was left wide open for a 20 yard scoring catch putting Central ahead 17-14 with 7:21 left to go in the third.

This tilt had its share of miscues by both clubs. Ill-advised penalties, wrong substitution packages and forgetting plays were evident throughout. One of the biggest mistakes of the evening came with 3:31 of the third. With the Golden Eagles in the shadow of their own goal post, a bad snap went out of the back of the end zone resulting in a safety for Everett, who now trailed by a point.

“We had a lot of guys where this was their first game against a strong team in Everett,” Central coach Valdamar Brower said. “Hopefully we got some things out of our system tonight. Now these kids have some experience under their best and who better to play again and have that experience then Everett. There were still a lot of good things to take away from this game. We’re going to grow from this. We have a lot of confidence but we need to stay humble and hungry.”

Getting the ball back following the safety, the Crimson Tide needed just two plays to move back in front. Wingard’s 60 yard pitch and catch to Michael Lopes followed by Freitas’ conversion run had Everett now ahead 24-17. The Crimson Tide managed to extend the advantage to 31-17 early in the fourth on a Marquis Holman 8 yard carry.

But Central (0-1) would not go quietly. Following the touchdown, Williams completed four passes as part of a 76 yard drive with the final completion being a 31 yard scoring pass to Johnson with 5:37 to go.

But that would be the last time Central would touch the ball. Everett was able to convert three key first downs to run out the clock.

After three-peat, No. 2 Everett avoids rebuilding year

September, 2, 2013
Everett footballMichael Thorpe for ESPNBoston.comAfter going 28-1 over the last three seasons, Everett may take a step back -- but it's all relative.
It was one of the most dominant three-year runs in MIAA history, going 28-1 with three straight MIAA Eastern Mass. Super Bowl titles. They scored early and they scored often, including a 2010 run in which they outscored opponents by nearly a 30-point margin per game. They had high-profile talent in high-profile places, sending recruits off to places like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Boston College, UMass, the Ivy League and seemingly everywhere else in between.

And now, it appears Everett High could be in for potentially a rebuilding year -- of course, in Everett that means more than one loss. There are some parallels to that last "rebuilding" team that went 8-3 in 2009. Back then, the Tide were coming off a three-year run that saw them win back-to-back D1 Super Bowls, and fall to eventual champ BC High in a playoff the third year. They graduated a load of talent, including Isaac Johnson, Walter Fallas, J.R. Suozzo and brothers Jim and Rodman Noel. Jonathan DiBiaso, the state's all-time leader in passing touchdowns, was a ripe sophomore.

That team took its lumps early on -- including an unheard-of 48-14 September beatdown at the hands of Dracut (a game which became just as well-known for coach John DiBiaso's post-game remarks, specifically "I just hope they don't take us off their schedule now" -- which they did, as it turns out).

But sooner or later, they figured it out, rolled to their 15th straight Greater Boston League title and a D1 Super Bowl berth, where they were shut out by rival Xaverian amidst the snow at Gillette Stadium. The lumps of that season gave way to the furious three-year run that concluded last December in similar snowy conditions, a 20-19 thriller over state No. 1 Barnstable to avenge an early-season loss and conclude a third straight Super Bowl title.

This year, the Tide must find replacements in the trenches, which graduated four starters from one of the nation's heaviest offensive lines and featured one of the East Coast's top recruits in John Montelus (Notre Dame). They must find new speed on the perimeter, where versatile threats Jakarrie Washington (Wisconsin) and Jalen Felix (Eastern Arizona JC) stressed defenses in so many different ways.

But does anybody truly, seriously doubt that these guys won't figure it out?

After all this was a team that last year was wholly unsettled at quarterback before the season even started, down to their fourth-stringer by their season-opener against Leominster. Raheem Wingard took over the reigns midway through the season, and the Tide never looked back.

The 5-foot-7 Wingard is back under center this season, and he has looked confident thus far in the preseason, putting better zip on the ball from a higher arm slot. Wingard developed a reputation last season as a running quarterback; working in the zone read out of the pistol, one of the new staples of Everett's offense this year, Wingard has shown the ability to make the right read on defensive ends.

He also maintains a chip on his shoulder, wanting to show the state last year's three-peat run was not the sole doings of last year's class.

"I feel like I'm one of the quarterbacks that gets overlooked a lot because I'm smaller, but that just gives me a little more motivation," said Wingard following a recent scrimmage. "And it makes me push my team that much farther, that much harder."

There are questions abound, particularly on the offensive line, where Zach Pierre is the lone starter. They aren't one of the nation's heaviest like last year, when they averaged 324 across, but this is still big by Bay State standards, averaging nearly 285. Keep an eye on junior Guerschwon Jean-Louis (6-5, 350) and sophomore J.J. Collimon (6-3, 245) as potential prospects down line, and don't forget about juniors Eric Trickett (6-1, 260) and Muhammad Raouie (6-0, 290) either.

Questions lie at the receiver positions as well, though it's apparent there is some talent with this group. Lukas Denis will be a focal point at wide receiver, alongside Lubern Figaro, but one name to keep an eye on is Joe D'Onofrio. After earning Catholic Central Small honors (and some high praise from his former coach), D'Onofrio returns to Everett and should make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball.

Where there won't be questions, as usual, is in the secondary. Figaro, who laid the wood from both slot corner and strong safety last year, was one of the most sought-after recruits in the offseason. He currently holds a dozen Division 1 FBS offers, and has chosen a final five of Boston College, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Wisconsin; after initially saying he would decide before the start of the season, Figaro has pushed his selection date back to at least October, possibly later.

Coach: John DiBiaso (22nd season at Everett, 263-64-1 overall)
Last Season: 11-1, won Div. 1A Eastern Mass. Super Bowl
Returning Starters: Eight (three offense, five defense)
Key Returnees: Sr. DB Lubern Figaro, Sr. LB C.J. Parvelus, Sr. QB Raheem Wingard, Sr. LB Angel Duarte, Sr. C Zach Pierre, Jr. ATH Lukas Denis
Strengths: Secondary, linebackers, passing game.
Weaknesses: Inexperience at offensive and defensive lines.
Outlook: This might be the youngest, greenest team Everett has rolled out since 2009, when they got off to a rusty start before marching to the D1 EMass Super Bowl. Like that 2009 team, it might take a bit for everything to come along, but does anybody seriously doubt the Tide won't figure it out? Last year's offensive line, led by Notre Dame freshman John Montelus, was one of the nation's heaviest at nearly 324 pounds across. This year's line is lighter, but still heavy by Massachusetts high school standards, and with a few intriguing young prospects who still have some growing to do, mentally and physically. Expect senior Joe D'Onofrio, a transfer from cross-town Pope John XXIII, to be a focal point of the passing game; he's already made an immediate impact during the preseason, able to stretch defenses vertically with high-4.5 speed. Wingard has shown improvement at passing, and that he's ready to take leadership reigns, and when coupled with Figaro, Denis and newbie Miguel Lopes, there's faith that the Tide will figure it out. The Tide should have one of the state's best secondaries once again, led by Figaro, who holds a dozen scholarship offers and is deciding between Boston College, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Scrimmage Slants: Everett vs. Lynn English

August, 24, 2013
EVERETT, Mass. -- This morning at Everett Memorial Stadium, the No. 2 Everett Crimson Tide hosted Lynn English in their annual first-weekend preseason scrimmage. In two series of varsity on varsity, Everett's offense scored four times, while the Bulldogs failed to reach the end zone.

This was our first look in the 2013 preseason at Everett, which is undergoing some wholesale changes in personnel after going 28-1 with three Super Bowl championships the last three seasons, as well as a good measure on several promising stars for English. Below are some notes and observations:

Radio Raheem: If there was any dash of speculation before about who was going to be taking snaps under center, incumbent senior Raheem Wingard made it clear who was in charge. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Wingard is built low to the ground and gets overlooked for his height, but he has a better arm than given credit for, and is excellent at making the proper read on backside defensive ends.

After graduating one of the program's most talented classes ever, led by the likes of Jakarrie Washington (Wisconsin), John Montelus (Notre Dame) and Jalen Felix (Eastern Arizona JC), Wingard takes the reigns with a chip on his shoulder. Everett was down to its fourth-string quarterback by opening night of the 2012 campaign, but Wingard moved over from running back to QB full-time midway through the year, and gave the Tide another running threat out of the backfield.

"He's stepping it up," Tide coach John DiBiaso said. "I think Raheem wants to prove it wasn't just Jakarrie [Washington], Jalen Felix, Kenny Calaj, Gilly De Souza, you know, that he had a hand in it a little bit. A lot of these kids have been the same way."

Said Wingard, "I feel like I'm one of the quarterbacks that gets overlooked a lot because I'm smaller, but that just gives me a little more motivation, and it makes me push my team that much farther, that much harder."

[+] EnlargeEverett's Joe D'Onofrio
Brendan Hall/ESPNBostonPope John XXIII transfer Joe D'Onofrio looked sharp Saturday, and should factor significantly into the Everett offense this season.
Everett primarily operated out of two-by-two double slot formations, pairing Lukas Denis and Lubern Figaro on one side opposite newcomers Mike Lopes and Joe D'Onofrio. That opened up the field for a series of slippery zone read plays up the middle, which Wingard usually orchestrated correctly.

D'Onofrio off and running: The prettiest play of the afternoon belonged to D'Onofrio, who connected with Wingard for a 55-yard touchdown pass towards the end of the Tide's first of two offensive series. Split wide just outside the numbers, D'Onofrio gained a step on his defender cutting diagonally on a post route, slipped behind the safety coming over the top, and let the ball softly drop over his shoulder into his outstretch hands, sprinting the final 20 yards to paydirt.

The 5-foot-11, 182-pound D'Onofrio was the Catholic Central Small MVP last year at cross-town Pope John XXIII after rushing for 1,356 yards and 16 touchdowns, his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season. But school has since gotten rid of its football program, leading D'Onofrio back to Everett, where he dabbled as a freshman.

If this morning is any indication, D'Onofrio is making a seamless fit into the Everett passing game. His slender frame blended with top-end speed and crisp routes draws comparisons to former Everett great Matt Costello, the 2010 ESPN Boston Mr. Football now playing for Princeton University, with the ability to stretch a defense vertically and take the top off. They're slightly different players, though -- D'Onofrio is a bit more physical, what with playing outside linebacker on defense.

"He's a real good player," DiBiaso said. "I've known him since he was five years old, he grew up in [Everett's] Pop Warner and everything. He did the couple years at Pope John, and now he's back with us. We're happy to have him, he's a good addition to the program. He's a good athlete."

Green in the trenches: Last season, the Tide had one of the nation's heaviest lines, averaging 324 pounds across, led by the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Montelus. This year's line is smaller, but still pretty impressive by high school standards at nearly 286 pounds across. Senior center Zach Pierre (5-11, 284) is the lone returning starter, and the Tide are breaking in new guards in juniors Eric Trickett (6-1, 260) and Muhammad Raouie (6-0, 290).

Two of the most intriguing newbies may be at the bookends. Junior Guerschwon Jean-Louis is in his first year of ever playing organized football, but at 6-foot-5 and nearly 350 pounds he held his own at the left tackle position. Sophomore right tackle J.J. Collimon is almost athletic enough to be a tight end, and may project the highest at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds.

Today was a good matchup for the young but promising Everett line, which had to deal with ESPN Boston Preseason All-State selection Chris Tinkham on the interior. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior has attracted Division 1 interest and is an impressive bull-rusher on the interior, but everywhere else the Tide were able to take control.

Offensively, the Tide moved the ball consistenly downfield, with linemen consistently getting into the second level. In one of the more impressive plays of the varsity action, Raouie charged up the left sideline on a screen and sealed off an English defender 15 yards downfield.

Defensively, Tinkham high-walled ends from the left tackle spot, but from the right side the Tide registered two sacks in the second English offensive series, including a nice speed rush from three-technique tackle Sidney Brimas, while 180-pound tackle Josh Palmer caused disruption shooting the inside gaps.

Harris-Javier battle heats up: One of the more intriguing camp battles is at English, where Lucas Harris is the incumbent but has been getting a good run from junior transfer Jordan Javier. At Haverhill High last year as a sophomore, the 6-foot-4 Javier excelled at wide receiver, but over the summer he has gotten plenty of reps at quarterback -- a move that's merited, as he makes difficult throws look effortless.

Javier, laboring through a tweaked meniscus from earlier in the week, took most of his snaps at quarterback, and took a few lumps early in the first series. On one play, he scrambled down the right sideline only to be stopped cold by Everett's C.J. Parvelus 10 yards down field. Two plays later, Javier threaded a laser deep down the left slot, only to watch highly-touted safety Lubern Figaro stip the ball from Harris' grip at the last second.

Both Harris and Javier made some great plays on the run, hitting receivers with tight balls just steps from the sidelines on deep comeback routes. And when Javier did line up at receiver for a few plays, he made the most of it, including an impressive catch from Harris on a square-in route from the left.

So far, Javier has shown promise, but Harris has done nothing to suggest he shouldn't be the quarterback. Receiver appears to be Javier's more natural position, based on history, so perhaps there is a compromise.

It will be worth monitoring Javier's left knee, which he re-aggravated late in the varsity series, having to be carried off by teammates and barely putting weight on his left leg. It's considered nothing serious, another tweak of the meniscus, according to English coaches.

Miscellaneous: One name to keep an eye on down the line: Jordan McAfee. The 6-foot-3 freshman is the Tide's third-string quarterback behind Wingard and Pat Long, but demonstrates remarkable maturity for a 14-year-old kid and made two terrific throws on comeback routes in the morning's final series. ... When the Tide got inside the red zone, they went to their familiar "Double Wing" package, experimenting with Raouie at fullback. Twice they scored on five-yard power sweeps, one in each of the two varsity series, from Denis and D'Onofrio. ... The linebacking corps appears to be set for now, with Angel Duarte at middle linebacker and Parvelus and D'Onofrio playing outside. ... In the secondary, keep an eye on junior Richard Jean, who made a good break on a deep pass late in the second series, deflecting a would-be touchdown at the sideline from about 10 yards out. ... DiBiaso on the roles expected of Figaro and Denis: "They've got to be leaders. We don't have that many experienced [players], so they've got to be leaders on the team. Lubern and [Lukas], those are the two bigger names out there."

Summer Snapshot: Everett Crimson Tide

August, 1, 2013
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first installment of our "Summer Snapshot" series, checking in with some of Massachusetts' top teams leading into the MIAA football preseason.

When we last checked in with Everett, the Crimson Tide had snuck by Barnstable in one of the most epic finishes ever at Gillette Stadium, for a third consecutive Eastern Mass. Super Bowl title. This afternoon, we caught up with the Crimson Tide as part of our annual summer photo tour, and they once again figure to come into the season as one of the state's top squads.

But boy, are there some holes to be filled, after graduating one of their most talented classes ever. We caught up with the Tide in a photo shoot this afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.

(L to R: Lukas Denis, C.J. Parvelus, Raheem Wingard, Lubern Figaro, Angel Duarte)
Coach: John DiBiaso (22nd season at Everett, 263-64-1 overall)
Last Season: 11-1, won Div. 1A Eastern Mass. Super Bowl
Final 2012 ESPN Boston Rank: 1
Returning Starters: Eight (three offense, five defense)
Key Losses: OT John Montelus, WR/DB Jakarrie Washington, WR/DB Jalen Felix, ATH Gilly De Souza, DE Jeff Soulouque, DE Omar Graciano, RB/LB Kenny Calaj, OL Marc Fils-Aime, OL Mike Ottersburg, OL Pat Sullivan
Key Returnees: Sr. DB Lubern Figaro, Sr. LB C.J. Parvelus, Sr. ATH Raheem Wingard, Sr. LB Angel Duarte, Sr. C Zach Pierre, Jr. ATH Lukas Denis
Overview: Do the Tide have enough in the tank for a four-peat? They certainly figure to be one of the favorites in thew newly-aligned Division 1 North, and they are a heavy favorite to roll to an unprecedented 20th straight Greater Boston League title, but the question will be if there is enough experienced depth. ... As always, the secondary will be the state's best, led by Figaro and complemented with Wingard and Denis. Figaro, a hang-tough tackler with keen ball instincts, has 12 Division 1 FBS offers and has cut his list down to Boston College, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Vanderbilt. After expressing plans earlier this summer to make a college decision before the start of the season, Figaro told today that he will put his decision off until at least October. After an injury-shortened 2012 campaign last fall, Denis is bound for a breakout season this fall, and has started to built FBS interest. ... Once again, there is an interesting situation brewing at quarterback. Last year, the Tide were down to their fourth-stringer -- De Souza -- before Week 1, and a number of athletes saw time under center. Wingard assumed the role midway through the season, and figures to be the incumbent heading into training camp. Expect a similar offensive philosophy -- that is, one which seemed to change on a weekly basis, prioritizing perimeter speed -- to permeate once again. ... The linebacking corps, led by FCS recruit Parvelus, should be among the state's best. The backers came at Barnstable with a potpurri of blitzes in the D1A Super Bowl, creating difficulty up the middle. ... Last season's line, led by Notre Dame recruit John Montelus, was one of the nation's heaviest, averaging 324 pounds across. With four starters graduating, expect a youth movement in the trenches.

Recap: Everett 20, Barnstable 19

December, 1, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For a brief moment late in regulation, Everett's quest to win a third straight Super Bowl was in serious jeopardy.

“Honestly, this one's been more stressful than any of the previous 10,” Everett head coach John DiBiaso said Saturday after his No. 2 Crimson Tide clinched the Eastern Mass. Division 1A title at frigid Gillette Stadium, 20-19, against No. 1 Barnstable. “I am emotionally, physically, mentally drained.”

Factors that caused DiBiaso to admit exhaustion included five turnovers committed by Everett (11-1), a fortuitous missed fourth-quarter extra point that kept Barnstable from forcing a 20-all, and Kenny Calaj's near fumble while the three-peat champs were killing the clock.

“I knew I was down because I felt my elbow hit the ground,” said Calaj, who intercepted standout quarterback Nick Peabody on Barnstable's previous, and final, offensive possession. “That's when it popped out.”

In real time, it appeared Calaj fumbled with 79 seconds to play. Kevin Hardy pounced on the football. Barnstable (11-1) prepared to take over roughly 30 yards from paydirt – and perfection.

But the officials – without the benefit of replay – quickly convened and ruled Calaj down by contact. The stadium scoreboard showed the replay, and it confirmed Calaj's interpretation of the play.

“It was tough to be on the end of it that we were,” Barnstable head coach Chris Whidden said of the call that saved the Tide from a sixth turnover.

Barnstable – which vaulted to No. 1 with its 13-7 double overtime upset of Everett on Sept. 28 – wasn't without its chances, however. The Red Raiders capitalized on just one of the turnovers they forced. Peabody fired a 9-yard first-quarter touchdown to Tedaro France (3 receptions, 93 yards, 3 TD) that pulled the Red Raiders within 7-6.

After France caught Peabody's perfect back-shoulder throw, the Tide caught their first break. A bad point-after snap led to a failed run.

Jakarrie Washington (9 carries, 121 yards, 2 TD) reclaimed momentum for Everett early in the second. Showing excellent vision, he saw a gap along the right edge, cut back before the hole closed, and raced 53 yards down the sideline.

Washington's 6-yard run inside the right pylon pushed Everett's lead to two touchdowns late in the third.

Barnstable's feverish comeback started with 15 seconds left in the frame – and just 44 seconds after Gilly De Souza split the uprights for a 20-6 lead.

Peabody hit France on a sideline route, and the receiver did the rest. He stayed upright after tangling feet with his press-coverage defender, made the catch, then beat De Souza to the goal line on the strength of a sensational maneuver at the 35.

Everett's fourth-quarter false start on fourth-and-1 led to a punt. Peabody (8-for-28, 205 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) orchestrated a three-play drive that led to points. The QB eluded multiple defenders, buying time for France to slip past the secondary and make a wide-open 30-yard TD grab with 7:26 to go.

Dereck Pacheco's PAT attempt had the height. But it was off-target.

“It's never one kid's fault. It's never the offense, defense or special teams. You win games like this as a team, you lose games like this as a team. Our kids are as strong as they've ever been.”

The Tide? They're just a little bit stronger.

“We earned it. We worked hard all season long, worked hard for the past three years,” Washington said. “We just proved that we're the best.”

Josh Palmer and Calaj each intercepted Barnstable's gunslinger signal-caller, and both picks were critical in the outcome.

Palmer's INT turned into a 30-yard TD return on the game's seventh play from scrimmage. Calaj ended Barnstable's last-ditch effort.

Those plays were set up by teammates who pressured Peabody without being touched once the ball was snapped.

C.J. Parvelus set up the pick-six with a well-timed blitz. Everett's linebacker rushed untouched over center and forced a quick release by Peabody. The soft, 5-yard toss was intended for France, but Palmer jumped the rout.

Defensive end Jeff Soulouque exploded off the right edge in the final minutes. Peabody felt the pressure and rolled out of the pocket.

“I saw him (off the snap) and said, 'I have to get him. I have to at least make him feel uncomfortable because he is a great quarterback,'” Soulouque said. “I ran him down, he felt uncomfortable and threw it for an interception.”

Overshadowed by the five turnovers was Everett's ability to extend drives. Fueled by Washington's 121-yard performance, the Tide converted third downs at a 40-percent clip (4 of 10).

By contrast, Barnstable was 1-for-12 on third down (8 percent).

“I thought we moved the ball on offense well. We ran the ball real well,” said DiBiaso, who called the numbers of Jalen Felix (12 carries, 40 yards), quarterback Raheem Wingard (11-10), Joey White (7-25) and Calaj (10-31). “We just made some stupid, stupid mistakes.”

No. 2 Everett 20, No. 1 Barnstable 19
Everett (11-1) 7-6-7-0 – 20
Barnstable (11-1) 6-0-7-6 – 19

First quarter
E – Josh Palmer 30 INT return (Gilly DeSouza kick), 7:32
B – Tedaro France 9 pass from Nick Peabody (run failed), 2:42

Second quarter
E – Jakarrie Washington 53 run (kick failed), 9:31

Third quarter
E – Washington 6 run (DeSouza kick), 1:09
B – France 76 pass from Peabody (Dereck Pacheco), :15

Fourth quarter
B – France 30 pass from Peabody (kick failed), 7:26

Recap: No. 2 Everett 24, Xaverian 7

October, 13, 2012

WESTWOOD, Mass. –- It hasn’t always been pretty, but they’ve gotten the job done.

After taking a rather mundane 24-7 win over Xaverian on Saturday, John DiBiaso characterized the play of his No. 2 Everett Crimson Tide as ‘up and down.’

In recent weeks, Everett has struggled through injuries, playing without five defensive starters last week against Cambridge. The Crimson Tide also went with their fourth string quarterback Raheem Wingard to start Saturday’s game.

[+] EnlargeJakarrie Washington
Scott Barboza/ESPNBoston.comEverett's Jakarrie Washington had three rushing touchdowns and an interception in the Crimson Tide's 24-7 win over Xaverian.
Still, Everett has endured. Jakarrie Washington made his presence felt on both sides of the ball against the Hawks, running for three touchdowns and picking off a pass. The Crimson Tide have also relied on their strengths, as they did against Xaverian, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. On offense, Everett was able to move the pile. On the flip side, the Crimson Tide defensive line was dominant, led by outside linebacker C.J. Parvelus’ three sacks.

Yet, DiBiaso felt compelled to point out some of his teams’ deficiencies, even after the victory.

“Our offense struggled, but our defense played well,” the Everett head coach said.

He added, “We still haven’t developed an identity on offense, and we have to do that in the next couple weeks.”

The consensus is, however, that the Crimson Tide (5-1) can almost move the ball at will when settled into their double wing sets. Washington (12 carries, 87 yards) found success running off the right side of the line.

Everett was also advantaged by great field position against the Hawks (1-5).

For the second straight week, Xaverian was unable to get down the long snapper to punter connection, with two botched snaps setting up Everett drives at the plus-30 and 31, respectively.

Washington capped both of those drives with touchdown runs.

While Washington had a nose for the end zone, his biggest play of the day perhaps came on defense.

Everett’s second offensive fumble lost of the first half set up Xaverian on the plus-side of the 50 with 1:27 remaining in the half. A few plays later, the Hawks had moved the ball to the 26 and eyed the end zone. On first and 10, Xaverian quarterback Austin DeCarr was looking for seven. That’s when Washington, who provided blanket coverage on Hawks wideout D.J. Pagliuca, made one of the more athletic interceptions you’ll see this season.

“They ran a little cross pattern, and we switched guys and I ran with it,” Washington said. “I had [Pagliuca] beat and I became the wide receiver and just caught the ball.”

The Crimson Tide were able to force the Hawks’ offense out of sync with solid pressure throughout. Parvelus (3 sacks) along with Jeff Soulouque (2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QB hits) set up shop in the Hawks’ backfield.

It was all part of the plan to keep DeCarr (11 of 28, 135 yards, TD) from conducting an air raid.

“We came into this game, we just wanted to put pressure on the quarterback, make him uncomfortable, get them off their game and then give the offense the chance to put as much points on the board,” Parvelus said. “We wanted to bounce back from last week [against Cambridge] and have a good defensive week.”

Everett –- 7 10 7 0 -- 24
Xaverian – 0 0 7 0 -- 7

First quarter
E - Jakarrie Washington 2-yard run (Gilly De Souza kick)

Second quarter
E - Washington 10-yard run (De Souza kick)
E – De Souza 38-yard field goal

Third quarter
X - D.J. Pagliuca 62-yard pass from Austin DeCarr (Kyle Darrow kick)
E - Washington 8-yard run (De Souza kick)